Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Talisman - off to Houston

I have just finished a new piece of work.

The making process has had to squeeze into a ridiculously limited number of days at home since early April. My good friend Lisa Walton won the Jewel Pearce Patterson Scholarship at Houston last year. She had contacted a group of us when the news was released and set up class times for us to learn some of the new skills she acquired and to make a quilt for her to take back to Houston for an exhibition this year.

I have really been remiss in my blogging. I tried some time back and simply could not work out how to put a photo exactly where I wanted it in the text - and my Flickr site had changed the way the 'share' system worked. I have just worked it out.

These photos are tiny. I am posting 'as-I-did-it' images from my mobile phone - done before I went to Europe.

I have been fascinated for a long time by small objects carried as protections or for good luck. Superstition is such a strong part of most people - especially when things are going wrong or when someone you love is ill. Growing up in New Guinea we often saw an image of a hand printed onto a wall or sign or rock. It meant Tabu - do not pass. There it was not a protection but in the Middle East - and I have lived a lot in the Middle East - it is the hand of Fatima, a powerful ward against the jealous eye. It tends to be most used there when things are going well. If you are newly married and happy, get a wonderful job, and then find out that your wife is having a baby and it is a boy - then you start to wear a hamza. A lot of Arab jewellery is based on amulets and talismen.


Prints from a great silkscreen Lisa made for me from my drawings!




Some attempts at free motion embroidery.


This was serious fun - emulating handprints on a wall without the actual blood.


Putting it together






Simple quilting.


I was not happy with the large light area on the right side with the stitched hands on it. Even though I wanted it to look rather haphazardly put together I felt that it seemed to be falling off the edge. I was also worried that the 'grubby wall' part with the large handprints (mine) was too pristine. I liked the quote from Sheila Payne's book, and had used it like a reference and in rough handwriting like a scribbled note, but I felt it was too dominant so I wanted to grey it down a bit. I brought out acrylics and a square sponge wedge brush and wiped paint over parts that bothered me. It looks charcoal but has ultramarine and silver mixed in for glint and an edge of colour.


I am happy with it now. I added the strong text at the bottom in my own writing, and painted it over, then spent the last two days facing and finishing it and adding a label.

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